Ok, so I have some shots of my feature in Color Magazine.. these were taken with my iPhone, as I don’t have access to my scanner (in the middle of remodeling my office). Will re-post better shots later.
Over the last year, I have largely migrated from film-based cameras to the Canon full-frame digital 5D Mark II. The quality of the full-frame Canon is amazing and is on par with medium format film. The primary advantage of digital capture is a much shortened workflow. In the past, I had to develop the film, scan the negatives (I gave up my darkroom a long time ago), and then finally edit the image. Scanning the negative often took the most time, especially for medium and large format film. Now, I pull the image straight off the camera and start editing. I can actually reproduce the look of film with some special software, so the reality is most people can’t tell if the image was captured digitally or with film. While I do enjoy the expediency of digital, I have missed the mystery and unique texture of and tonality of black and white film, especially when looking at some of my older images captured with large format film. You still can’t beat large format film with digital (unless you buy a $50,000 medium format back). So on a bit of a whim, I started looking about a month ago at a new large format camera, specifically a Linhof Master Technika.
The advantages of a Linhof Master Technika have everything to do with the built in rangefinder. While this was common among press cameras back in the 1950s (e.g. Graflex), most manufacturers dropped it except Linhof. The rangefinder allows you to take a photograph without having to look through the ground glass (think old time photographers with the really big camera and a black cloth draped over their head). This camera really allows you to shoot large format hand held. It also is one of the most solidly built cameras you will even experience (it weighs 7 lbs without the lens). In fact, it has the reputation of being one of the more expensive mechanical cameras (digital can be significantly more expensive in comparison) as it is largely hand built in Germany to this day.
So I started searching eBay for a used Linhof. While not cheap, I found one that was in amazingly near-new shape and just received it last week. I now am in the process of testing it and getting a few extra accessories. In fact, I just found a Graflex Grafmatic film cartridge for it (allows you to take multiple shots on large format film fairly quickly).
I now plan to start utilizing the camera for certain projects where I am looking for more depth and detail… will keep you updated. I will still be using my digital camera – now the challenge for you is to see if you can tell the difference.
The new issue of Color Magazine (for Collectors of Fine Photography) just arrived today. This issue is dedicated to the magazine’s Single Image Contest Winners and one of my photos is featured. My photograph “Scopion” won a Merit award in the Extreme Color category. The photograph was take in September 2009 and is of the colorful carnival ride lights at the Michigan State Fair in Detroit.
I am excited for the exposure and now motivated to further refine my portfolio of work. I especially need to focus on developing a deep and specific body of work – I tend to be a bit sporadic in content and style.
After much delay, I finally have all my images uploaded to my website. I have quite a number of newer images, so check it out. Check it out at: http://matthewaldrich.com. Some new images include:
I recently purchased a new orchid from Home Depot of all places (it was cheap!). It was in full bloom, so I had to get some pictures.
My style with stills is typically to use either a black of white background. This tends to emphasize the subject. With the bright colors of the orchids, I felt white would be best in this situation. In fact, white seems to be my favorite background color these days, as it gives a dramatic look.
I have a studio setup of three flashes and used all three in this situation (1 main, 1 fill, and 1 to light up the background). The background flash is actually very important when you are using white if you truly want pure white. If you don’t get the background lighted completely and with enough light, you can end up with an off-white versus pure white color. The background flash also works to eliminate any shadows that may fall from the subject. For the main flash, I used a fairly direct light (no soft box or umbrella) to provide contrast and pop and combined that with a soft fill flash to eliminate shadows.
For the camera, I used my Canon 5D Mark II digital camera mounted to my new Cambo X2-Pro with an 80mm Rodenstock lens.
The Cambo lets you utilize typical view camera movements to change/correct perspective and enhance focus. The camera’s tilt capability is what produced the shallow depth of field (i.e. out of focus look) in the image.
I didn’t have to do a lot of editing to bring out the colors of the orchid, in fact the look is primarily the result of a film effect filter applied to the image. In fact, I tend to apply film effect filters to many of my color images. Why? Film was not developed to accurately represent the colors we see, rather the color response of film was developed to produce images we would like. That is one reason why many people don’t like the look of digital straight out of the camera – it is designed to faithfully reproduce the actual colors. The problem with that is the actual colors are often dull and boring. We tend to like more saturation and contrast, which is what film was designed to produce – what we like. So if you want more interesting digital photos – get a film effect filter. I use Nik Software’s Color Effex Pro which includes many other cool filters in addition to film effects.
Anyway, let me know how you like the image:
I have been working hard to revamp my website and start a blog, all in an attempt to better “show” and explain my work. Some of the changes include a new store at etsy.com and an improved gallery with significantly more images. My plan is to continually update the galleries as I capture more images. Related to the blog, if you are reading this, you found it. My hope is to use the blog to explain the circumstances and intentions surrounding the images I create. The blog also allows you to provide feedback on what you see. I also plan to include information on my equipment and techniques, so if you are a photo buff, I am sure you will want to visit often. To stay updated with the blog, make sure to sign up for my mailing list here.
While I still have more work to do, you can see the latest gallery creation, which includes the above and below images, by clicking here.